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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Philippine Army to Monitor Discharged Soldiers to Prevent Criminal Activities

The recent killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has raised concerns about the potential involvement of former soldiers in criminal activities. In response, the Philippine Army has announced that it will begin monitoring discharged soldiers, especially those who have received specialized training in sniping, special warfare, and explosives. Army Chief Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner Jr. stated that the army will ensure that these highly trained individuals do not use their skills for criminal activities.

The suspects involved in the killing of Governor Degamo were dishonorably discharged soldiers who displayed military precision during the attack. This incident prompted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to direct the Philippine National Police (PNP) to identify areas with high occurrences of local killings and intense political rivalries.

In a meeting at MalacaƱang, the issue of former soldiers becoming guns-for-hire or getting involved with criminal syndicates was discussed. The Army aims to prevent the misuse of the specialized military skills that these individuals have acquired. The former explosives and ordnance division members may also be required to seek approval from the Army before leaving the country.

The recent arrest of highly trained former soldiers during pursuit operations following the Negros Oriental gun attack further highlighted the need for increased monitoring of discharged soldiers. Among those arrested were former Army sergeant Joric Garrido Labrador, former sergeant Joven Calibjo Javier, and former corporal Benjie Rodriguez.

The involvement of former soldiers in criminal activities is a cause for concern, as they possess specialized training that can make them a significant threat to public safety. The Philippine Army's move to monitor discharged soldiers is a proactive step towards preventing the misuse of military skills for criminal activities.

The government should also address the root causes that drive former soldiers to engage in criminal activities, such as unemployment and lack of social support. By providing support and opportunities for these individuals, they may be less likely to resort to criminal activities.

The Philippine Army's decision to closely monitor discharged soldiers is a positive step towards preventing criminal activities. However, the government must also address the underlying issues that lead to the involvement of former soldiers in criminal activities. With proper support and opportunities, these highly trained individuals can contribute to society and become valuable members of their communities.

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